In the beginning
So what the hell is a Monet Goyon? well it just happens to be the cutest little motorcycle i have ever bought. Built in France in 1954, it uses a Villiers 98cc engine built under licence in France and therefore nothing from the UK fits other than pistons, and was a general commuter bike with just 2 speeds in the gearbox. Originally it made 2.4 bhp and had a top speed of about 34 mph.
I bought mine off Gumtree, advertised as a Monet, to hang on the wall or restore for £170, a bargain.
THE TUNING PROCESS
You need friends like Mick Abbey Tuning
Finding someone to take you seriously about tuning a 1954 iron barrelled engine is one thing, but when you say it is just 98cc, has 2 speeds and you want to gain a Bonneville record, most people fall around laughing at you... but not Mick Abbey.
We go back a lot of years, to the glory days of Moped Mayhem racing and we had a Kawasaki AR50 and Mick had a Honda MB50, and we had huge fun and gained each others respect.
Mick was happy to have a go at tuning the barrel and making a bespoke expansion chamber exhaust for the little chap.
After many runs at the Kendrew runway it was obvious all was not well, it vibrated like a road drill and loosened teeth.
So out came the crank and it was dynamically balanced, as best you can a single cylinder engine by a firm in Birmingham and a good job was done. Now when i revved it to 7000rpm, std max power was at 3,400rpm, it was smooth as silk, although a bit rough on the way there.
As i was running in the modified class i fitted Aprilia RS50 forks, and wheels from a 1978 Suzuki GP100 so i could use tyres with a speed rating on them, not bicycle tyres.
Speed testing went well and after a dyno session with Mick where we saw 6bhp up from 2.4 bhp we increased the jetting a tad and settled for just over 5bhp. Top speed as determined by my GPS phone app. was 53 mph, and the current Bonneville record was 26 mph, game on.
HOW TO DO THINGS THE HARD WAY!
Too smart for my own good.
So the moment of truth had arrived, i was entered for the world famous Bonneville speedweek event and had my race number 4210B, all i needed to do was get the bike there. How hard could that be?
Damn hard was the answer.
Looking into getting the bike in crate and either air or sea freight was a joke, several thousand pounds was the cost for a bike i paid £170 for.
I know, i'll be clever, so i bought 2 bespoke made double skinned corrugated boxes, approx 1.2m x 0.8m x 0.4m and i would break the bike down into components and send it out as spares to me good mate Wally Kohler in New Mexico, he could take it to the salt and i could build it there.
Being clever, i thought i would take some bits in my hold luggage on the plane to the parcels couldnt ever make a whole bike and be accused as being a motorcycle.
So i took the petrol tank, and gear clusters in my bag along with a bottle of my favourite castrol A747 oil and gearbox oil.
The parcels got to Wally in just 8 days in good condition and i was happy to know they were there before i left.
My own role was less successful, i arrived at Manchester airport and it all seemed to go well, luggage booked in i retired to the lounge for a few gin and tonics. When i went to the gate i heard my name being announced, and upon introducing myself they challenged the contents of my bag and confiscated the whole suitcase saying all was contaminated, i was left to board the plane with just my manbag.
Thank goodness i flew Virgin and by paying for internet access on the plane organized for my wife to collect my bag the next day and with the help of mate Ian Horn, go the petrol tank, gear cluster and other essential items sent out by courier.
FINALLY IN ONE PIECE
Time to race
Racing starts on the Saturday but my parcel didnt arrive until the Wednesday. I had already built up the rolling chassis and was now quite famous for pushing it around the pits with no engine in it.
I built the engine up in the back of my hired people carrier and fitted it to the frame in the motel car park of where i was staying, much to the merriment of the residents.
However, there was a huge cheer when the bike finally fired up and i was then riding it around the car park, boy was i happy at that time.
So Thursday morning arrived and i lined up for my first run. Bugger way too rich and it hardly pulled at all so i turned off early and went back to the pits.
The reason it was so rich is that Bonneville is at 5000ft, which corrected for the temperature of 38C, gives a Density Altitude of over 7000 ft. So i jetted down from 100 to 85 and it ran better.
Lined up and went for another run, this time i recorded 34mph, remember the old record was 26 mph, so i went to impound/Parc Ferme and left the bike for the following morning.
Up at 5.30am to be on the salt for 6.30am, hugely excited that i could set a record on my return run.
The SCTA Technical team came up to me and apologised but another rider had increased the record to 39.1mph and so my run wasnt good enough, i would have to go out and re-qualify - DAMN!!
So Back in line and this time i wrung its neck and got a speed 43 mph, but as i flew past the 2 mile flag the little bike seized it engine.
The twist in this tale, is that all racing stops at midday Friday, so i didnt have the usual 4 hours in parc ferme to work on the bike but just 2 hours before the return runs at midday.
Off came the head and barrel, anothe r mate Spender Hamilton provided emery cloth and we filed the seize off the piston, rubbed the barrel and generally did every known bodge to get it running again.
As i knew the engine was fragile to say the least i asked if i could be the very last vehicle to go down the salt, as i didnt want my blown engine to stop others.
Given the signal to run i gave it the beans but halfway between the 1 and 2 mile flag i could feel it was rattling horrendously, so i had to back off but mad the 2 mile flag and pulled off.
Time seemed to slow as i was relayed back to the timing hut to get my ticket, the radio was saying i had missed out, but the timing ticket proved that despite the speed only being 36 mph, the average of the 2 was 39.942mph, and i had my first Bonneville record by just 0.8 mph.
Happy doesnt sum it up
ONE OF THE RUNS
Yep, i really was that slow
This actual run was one where i couldnt get the hand gear change to work and could only get one of the 2 gears but shows you the salt and the start line.
SOME HAPPY SNAPS FROM THE SALT
I couldnt have managed the record without the help of my Swedish friend Anders Jonsson, who races a 650cc ice speedway engine streamlined sidecar, but allowed me to hijack his chase vehicle to recover me after all my runs - Many thanks.
quest for more speed
The weather frustrated and further testing and boosting of the 100cc M-VG record as i had to prioritise the Sidecar and engine development for the streamliner.
This doesn't mean development of the Monet has stopped.
I have been working with Langham Engineering to make a Billet piston with just one modern piston ring. The standard 60+ year old pistons vary in diameter despite claining to b th same size, and run with 2 cast iron, brittle rings. Ax i am now revving to in excess of 7000rpm and it was designed to rev to 4500rpm, i am getting ring flutter that loses me all the gains of revving higher.
A single thin ring can respond quicker to the direction change of the piston and retain the benefits of higher revs.
So i bought some exotic Aluminium 4032 from Omega pistons who heat treated it for me, this is a high silicon alloy with low thermal expansion and so less likely to seize and keeps its shape.
The Angus, one of the most skilled engineers at Langham used milling techniques to produce a billet piston for me to try.
So far this hasn't been run, but it will.
I would love to get the record over 50 mph, then i can bring the Monet home to sit in my front room.
So for 2020, i wanted a quick and easy project to challenge a new class but not be a distraction to the streamliner, so a have built a sidecar to bolt onto the Monet Goyon.
This moves it into the 100cc SC-VG/SC-VF classes and 2 new records, for 0ne days worth of welding and about £30, so i can concentrate on the streamliner.
The records are pretty slow so in with a chance, VG is 36.744mph and VF is 30.469mph.
I will send the sidecar out as a flatpack to Wally Kohler and go out in June to assemble and test, probably do a tow test in thr UK just to check it steers in a straight line.